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February 24 2009

(SPOILER) When will we be properly introduced to Alpha? Matt Mitovich from TV Guide in his Mega Minute asked Joss when will we first see the mysterious actor... whoever that might be... playing Alpha.

All I can say is that Ií am a little disappointed that weíll have to wait that long. I thought he would show up soonerÖ But never mind. Letís hope that Joss wonít kill him again in the finale and that Fox wonít kill the show so that we can see more of him in the second season. ;-)
I agree with the above.

And im curious, whats the point in labelling the (technical term for what that was...segment?) a 'mega minute' having a countdown and going over? Why even bother other than the alliteration in the title?
That does seem like a long time to keep your Big Bad under wraps. Of cours,e may be Alpha is not the big Bad. Maybe Balalrd is. Maybe the Dollhouse is. Maybe we all are.
I've been studiously avoiding the thread on "who is the actor playing Alpha" so please, nobody spill that can of beans in this thread.

That said, if "not letting us see Alpha's face" is so important (and we've had a big poke in the ribs about that from Echo when she says in Ep. 2 that he has no face), that's gotta mean he's someone we know from elsewhere in the Dollverse, right? That, or it's someone we're going to meet in upcoming eps but won't realize is Alpha.

I suppose the obvious candidate is Ballard--the cop hunting the Dollhouse turns out to be hunting himself. Probably a bit too cheesy for Joss, though. It can't be anyone currently at the Dollhouse, because--one assumes--the others would recognize him. So...that doesn't leave many options, does it? I guess I think it'll be someone else that we meet in upcoming eps as an apparently inoffensive minor character. I'm still guessing that he's they guy holding the video camera for Caroline's 'yearbook' bits.

On preview: That does seem like a long time to keep your Big Bad under wraps.

I guess technically it's only keeping aspect of the Big Bad under wraps. We know he's "Alpha the Quondam Active" ("Had a very shiny knife..."), and presumably the Dollhouse people know quite a lot about him. It would be a bit contrived if they don't tell us some of that info over the coming eps.
Maybe we all are.

I think that's it!


ETA: That's too long to wait!

-sigh- α Ω ☹

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2009-02-24 21:25 ]
Joss is the Big Bad, you'll should know that by now ;)
Initially, I was kinda bummed that we won't actually get to see Alpha until late in the season, but, then, thinking about it, I think it's gonna work well. We know he's this "big", scary person-thing that shouldn't have been able to happen and yet is capable of all sorts of unspeakable horrors. Keeping him under wraps and in the shadows allows him to be all the more scary.

Like in Serenity (the Firefly pilot rather than the movie, although to some extent in the movie as well), we don't get to see the Reavers, we're just told about them and their unspeakable (barely speakable, since they do speak of them?) acts. That makes them so much more scary and ominous than if we had actually seen these freaky, wild person-things on the screen. Keeping them off screen allows us to be as scared of them as the characters rather than being able to point and go "Wow! Cool makeup!".
I suppose the obvious candidate is Ballard

Oooo I've had this thought too. It would be a lovely twist, if he was like a sleeper agent and obsessed with the Dollhouse by day as Paul but also an Active gone haywire killing people. And he doesn't remember what he does as Alpha, but Paul just can't stop thinking about this Dollhouse business.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2009-02-24 21:26 ]
Like in Serenity (the Firefly pilot rather than the movie, although to some extent in the movie as well), we don't get to see the Reavers, we're just told about them and their unspeakable (barely speakable, since they do speak of them?) acts. That makes them so much more scary and ominous than if we had actually seen these freaky, wild person-things on the screen. Keeping them off screen allows us to be as scared of them as the characters rather than being able to point and go "Wow! Cool makeup!".

Yeah. Firefly Reavers were roughly a hundred times freakier than the Serenity version. Incomprehensible, suicidally reckless homicidal maniacs are terrifying. Victims of a drug-experiment-gone-wrong are kinda sad. There's a lot to be said for withholding information.
I hope Mitovich soon gets a little more comfortable with these segments. He seems stiff and uncomfortable, esp. in the opening and closing parts when he's talking directly to the audience.

But the intel is good, if all too brief.
Twilight is Alpha.
And he doesn't remember what he does as Alpha, but Paul just can't stop thinking about this Dollhouse business.

Yeah, that's how I was picturing it. But hasn't this been done? I feel like it's kinda cliched, although I can't just now name specific cases.
That does seem like a long time to keep it a mystery. It raises the possibility of having some character we meet sooner be revealed as Alpha in the finale. I kind of doubt this will be the case, however, because (probably not a spoiler but I don't want to accidently give away any "hints")

So is this a nefarious plot by Joss & co to get Fox to pick up the 2nd season for more of the Alpha storyline? ;)
What can they do that hasn't been done? It doesn't make it any less compelling if done right. Watching a Cylon sleeper agent become unglued as she realizes she's been unknowingly endangering her friends is great tv, even though neither sleeper agents nor killer robots are a new concept.
What can they do that hasn't been done? It doesn't make it any less compelling if done right. Watching a Cylon sleeper agent become unglued as she realizes she's been unknowingly endangering her friends is great tv, even though neither sleeper agents nor killer robots are a new concept.

No, that's true. It's the how far more than the what that matters. I guess it's more that if they want this to be the big "WTF? No way Alpha was that guy!" moment (which all this "we won't show you who he is until the very end" stuff seems to suggest), then it's going to be hard to bring that off if he's kinda the first guy we all think of.
Why do I keep reading 'Big Bad' as Big Bird? And thanks, snot, now I've got Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer as an earworm. ;)
Why do I keep reading 'Big Bad' as Big Bird?

Hey, hey--NO SPOILERS!!

(Anyway, we all know it has to be Snuffleupagas, right? He's clearly a psycho killer).
Snot Monster--I had a vague sense of "i've heard that one before" too. And I think I got it..."The first rule of Dollhouse is--you don't talk about Dollhouse." (fightclub)
gt0163c wrote:

Initially, I was kinda bummed that we won't actually get to see Alpha until late in the season, but, then, thinking about it, I think it's gonna work well. We know he's this "big", scary person-thing that shouldn't have been able to happen and yet is capable of all sorts of unspeakable horrors. Keeping him under wraps and in the shadows allows him to be all the more scary.


Thatís true, but Iím afraid that by the time Alpha's story finally starts to kick into some serious gear, the show might be already canned. When you have only 13 guaranteed episodes and a possible axe of cancellation constantly hovering above your head you have to speed things up, otherwise your show might be over sooner than youíll get to tell the really interesting parts of the story.

[ edited by Simon on 2009-02-24 22:35 ]
The theory that Ballard is Alpha doesn't work because both Adelle and Dominic know Ballard as an FBI agent who's been snooping around for more than a year, but knows nothing. She also thinks he's less capable than Inspector Clouseau. Alpha has been gone for three months. So, if Ballard is Alpha, wouldn't they know the difference?
Otherwise, it would have been an interesting twist.
Ah, crap! I've got Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer in my head too now!
I'm glad we won't see Alpha until later on - adds to the suspense.

[ edited by Shep on 2009-02-25 09:35 ]
Well, Anuris, I think they have sped things up quite a bit already. I would have thought we would get one episode at least that didn't involve Echo malfunctioning, but... apparently not.

As for the "I've seen that before" issue, my first thought was good old Spike and The First.
I want the reveal to be so overwhelming that I flinch, just like in Episode 2.
I would ask that the reveal of who is playing Alpha not be mentioned in this thread not even with the invisible tags. Posts maybe edited accordingly.
But I did read the Alpha spoiler post so I know who's playing him...

Shep, your post gives away a really important fact about Alpha, i.e. . Care to add some invisi-tags?
The theory that Ballard is Alpha doesn't work because both Adelle and Dominic know Ballard as an FBI agent who's been snooping around for more than a year, but knows nothing.

Good point. Uh...o.k., you see Alpha is Ballard's evil twin...no? Won't work?
I kind of wish I didn't know :(
snot: Anyway, we all know it has to be Snuffleupagas, right?

I think you've solved it. The adult characters of Sesame Street had to wait 17 seasons to see Snuffy, so it makes sense that Echo has to wait 13 episodes to really see Alpha. (Except Snuffy must have had a massive haircut before sitting unclothed in front of that TV!)

[ edited by OneTeV on 2009-02-24 23:15 ]
I think you've solved it. The adult characters of Sesame Street had to wait 17 seasons to see Snuffy, so it makes sense that Echo has to wait 13 episodes to really see Alpha. (Except Snuffy must have had a massive haircut before sitting unclothed in front of that TV!)

Wait for the outcry when they go back to that end-of-Ep1 scene and pull the camera back to reveal the bloody corpse of Big Bird in the kitchen. I predict some controversy.
Oh man, it's Bert all the way - there was always something just a bit off about him. Turns out it was his multiply fragmented homicidal personality disorder. Ernie's who I feel for, finding that out about a pal could really knock the stuffing out of you.

Re: Ballard, no it doesn't make sense (pity in one way, maybe a bit of a gimmicky twist in another) but way before that film-of-a-book-that-we-don't-talk-about, wasn't there a detective story (or maybe even a real case) where the detective finally figures out that he committed the murder but in his sleep ? Got a brain tickle but I can't remember any details (and Google's not my friend tonight).
Kind of Angel Heart-ish, only with less Satan?
Snot Monster wrote:

Wait for the outcry when they go back to that end-of-Ep1 scene and pull the camera back to reveal the bloody corpse of Big Bird in the kitchen. I predict some controversy.


Well, as long as it is not the Big Bird of the Galaxy, to create a Star Trek crossover. ;)
Saje--yeah, that's more like the story I'm thinking about. I've struck out badly on Google too. I can't think of the right set of terms not to just get a bunch of detective novel/movie plots.

Bert? Bert's the one that everybody suspects right at the outset because he's got "ticking time bomb" written all over him. Then, of course, suspicion will swing to Oscar--the social outcast--and Grover--the unrepentant anarchist. The empty cookie jar in the kitchen will send them down a brief, only too obvious, blind alley. But Snuffleupagus, man! No one even believes he exists! (Hey--I'm old-school Sesame Street, don't confuse me with this 'out' Snuffleupagus crap). The only one who witnessed him enter the house was Big Bird, so Big Bird had to die.

The worst thing is that they'll end up pinning it on Big Bird as a murder-suicide. But I've said too much.
I'm going to bet 5 sheckles it's more like Dressed to Kill.
You're thinking Saunders is involved maybe Tonya J ?

The worst thing is that they'll end up pinning it on Big Bird as a murder-suicide. But I've said too much.

So you think they'll suspect fowl play ?

(hey, someone had to go there ;)

Kind of Angel Heart-ish, only with less Satan?

Yeah, ish m'cookies. It's either an old story or it's period because I have a sort of vague 19th century France feeling and I seem to recall the (female) victim was strangled (but it's very possible i'm conflating different stories - certainly the setting sounds like Poe's ur-detective Auguste Dupin, pretty sure it's not him though).
Saje, Alpha looked pretty bulky from the back, so I'd say more like some woman on steroids ... I'm just reaching now (And of course, Michael Caine is way too withered to put his wig back on).
Yeah, ish m'cookies. It's either an old story or it's period because I have a sort of vague 19th century France feeling and I seem to recall the (female) victim was strangled (but it's very possible i'm conflating different stories - certainly the setting sounds like Poe's ur-detective Auguste Dupin, pretty sure it's not him though).

"This," I said, "is the mark of no human hand."

"Read now," replied Dupin, "this passage from Cuvier." It was a minute anatomical and generally descriptive account of the large fulvous Ourang-Outang of the East Indian Islands. The gigantic stature, the prodigious strength and activity, the wild ferocity, and the imitative propensities of these mammalia are sufficiently well known to all. I understood the full horrors of the murder at once.

I turned to Dupin, who was gazing at his reflection in a large pier-glass that adorned the drawing room with a look of slowly-dawning understanding. "What is it?" I asked.

"Ook!" he said.
Cross-postage extravaganza !

Truly a strange and indistinct language, the sense of which none can make. Also, it'd explain the 14 crates of bananas a day.

Saje, Alpha looked pretty bulky from the back, so I'd say more like some woman on steroids ... I'm just reaching now (And of course, Michael Caine is way too withered to put his wig back on).

Oh yeah, agreed, it's definitely a naked bloke we see but i'm wondering about sharing an imprint or something, passing it back and forth maybe ? Or multiple copies of the same composite personality, like a "composite" of composites ?

[ edited by Saje on 2009-02-25 00:18 ]
Does naked guy have to be Alpha? After all, we've seen that Alpha was able to get Bow-Hunter Man to do his bidding (whether consciously or via imprinting). Alpha could be woman, no?
Yeah, naked guy could be anyone but it seemed at least implied that he'd killed the dead folk which sounds fairly homicidal maniac-esque to me. I mean, i'm no expert but i've seen 'Manhunter' and 'Silence of the Lambs' and sitting naked in a house with dead folk watching a video of the woman you (possibly) feel you're destined to be with for all eternity does seem to fit the homicidal maniac profile.
If he'd had a big old tattoo of a dragon on his ba--oh, wait.
Yeah, naked guy could be anyone but it seemed at least implied that he'd killed the dead folk which sounds fairly homicidal maniac-esque to me. I mean, i'm no expert but i've seen 'Manhunter' and 'Silence of the Lambs' and sitting naked in a house with dead folk watching a video of the woman you (possibly) feel you're destined to be with for all eternity does seem to fit the homicidal maniac profile.

Oh, I don't doubt that at all. Well, at least, I assume that Naked Guy has acted as a homicidal maniac acts. But couldn't Naked Guy have been imprinted by Alpha to act that way? I mean, is it possible that Alpha has access to a brain-imprinter relaxychair? So Alpha could be the homicidal maniac behind the scenes, but not necessarily the one out doing all the stabbing and cutting and putting of photos into envelopes.
Yep, distinct possibility though for now i'm going on the premise that he's not imprinting folk left and right for not much better a reason than because I personally prefer the idea of Alpha, like some psychological Rambo, using what he can find or make in the field to play his own twisted version of the dollhouse against itself. It feels more substantial to me, darker in a way, for him to latch onto society's existing psychopathic flotsam and jetsam and manipulate them to his ends.

(but if it were Saunders behind the scenes, she could get around the issue of getting another imprinting machine from somewhere, which is one of my more practical objections to the Alpha-the-big-old-imprinter-dude theory i.e. it can't be easy technology to buy/build/whatever. Course, there're all sorts of other ways around that too. Maybe there're other branches of dollhouse or a prototyping lab or a reclusive original inventor of the technology or similar)
I so love the idea of Saunders being in on it. It would be really twisted if she took that slashing as part of a misdirection.
Wait till the last episode before we see him?!? Now that the word is out (and good luck to anyone who thinks they'll avoid this spoiler!) why not introduce him earlier and give us a little more time with him.
I<3 Alpha.
Wait till the last episode before we see him or her?!? Now that the word is out (and good luck to anyone who thinks they'll avoid this spoiler!) why not introduce him or her earlier and give us a little more time with him or her.
I<3 Alpha.


You know, it may well be difficult for those of us who don't want to be spoiled not to be spoiled. But it sure would be easy for those of you who chose to be spoiled not to give away things like the gender of Alpha and whether or not we've already seen him/her etc.
I don't know about this Alpha storyline... 13 episodes? I hope it gets a little more intriguing, a little less passe. It's a little too much like Sylar, without the powers and the lame dialogue. I'm much more interested in knowing about who actually runs the Dollhouse, who Adelle is working for. A storyline in which Topher is killed or imprinted with a non-annoying personality would also be good.
I so love the idea of Saunders being in on it. It would be really twisted if she took that slashing as part of a misdirection.

Indeed. And it would kinda make sense--given that no one else got slashed and lived to tell the tale.

Yep, distinct possibility though for now i'm going on the premise that he's not imprinting folk left and right for not much better a reason than because I personally prefer the idea of Alpha, like some psychological Rambo, using what he can find or make in the field to play his own twisted version of the dollhouse against itself.

Yeah, I agree, actually. If mindwiperelaxychairs proliferate you'll end up in Rambaldi-device world. Too much tennis without a net if everybody ends up being a puppet or a secret agent etc. But even without imprinting, Naked Guy need not be Alpha. Alpha could still have coerced or bribed a psycho killer to do his bidding.
ETA: Yep, true enough. Seems like we're meant to think he is (or else why not show his face, why the air of mystery) but that could be a piece of misdirection itself (like a misdirection onion ;).

I so love the idea of Saunders being in on it. It would be really twisted if she took that slashing as part of a misdirection.

Well, it's like someone (was it you Tonya J ?) said, why did he spare her ? I mean as far as we know, of all the people he meets on his rampage he doesn't kill exactly two, Echo and Saunders. Course, it could just be that Saunders showed him kindness and he remembered that and let her live but then why slash her at all ? So maybe she took it as misdirection (or maybe she did it herself, same reason) or maybe by scarring her Alpha's trying to create another sort of "composite event", the same way he might be trying to do with Echo. But it seems reasonable to assume there's more to Saunders than a shrinking violet physician.

[ edited by Saje on 2009-02-25 01:01 ]
snot, isn't it a little obvious which gender Alpha is...? In the latest episode, we see a silhouette of Alpha standing over Echo, with reference made to Alpha being that person, whose gender is quite clear... I mean, speaking of atypical gender appearances, of course.
But it seems reasonable to assume there's more to Saunders than a shrinking violet physician.

She can shrink!?

[ edited by snot monster from outer space on 2009-02-25 01:02 ]
Yep and change colour. Did you miss the entire third act or something ?
Topher: "That's the thing, he just--" (in reference to Alpha)

Topher: "Doc Saunders looks like a jigsaw puzzle and what he did to Samuelson..."

We can spoilerfree discuss Alpha's gender: he is male.
Wasn't me Saje, but I was wondering why he spared Saunders. Could be the thorn in the lion's paw thing, or something more nefarious. I prefer the nefarious.
snot, isn't it a little obvious which gender Alpha is...? In the latest episode, we see a silhouette of Alpha standing over Echo, with reference made to Alpha being that person, whose gender is quite clear... I mean, speaking of atypical gender appearances, of course.

Well, it's not really clear in that scene that what she sees is exactly the "real" memory. But now that I think about it, the Dollhouse staff refer to Alpha as "he." And I guess they do know. So apologies, Missyu.

ETA: or, what Buffy the Slayer Layer says above.

[ edited by snot monster from outer space on 2009-02-25 01:14 ]
If he'd had a big old tattoo of a dragon on his ba--oh, wait.

And had In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida on, cranked to the max...
snot, I know what you mean about the spoilers though... I have been good with Dollhouse (though I do know who plays Alpha, and I wish I didn't). I always spoil myself with Buffy though--I hate having to wait a month!!!

I think the best thing to do is to avoid discussions where you know there may very well be spoilers you want to avoid. Since this link doesn't specifically mention who will play Alpha (only when we'll see his face), I think Simon made the right call in forbidding that info.
I think the best thing to do is to avoid discussions where you know there may very well be spoilers you want to avoid.

Oh I do, believe me. But once people have been spoiled they find it really hard to imagine that other people haven't been. I do wish Shep would come back to this thread and clean up his/her post. I mean it's a really casual comment which I'm quite sure never crossed Shep's mind as a spoiler, but it really blew up a bunch of tempting lines of speculation.
Everyone's on that Alpha is the bad guy. What if he isn't? What if he is the good guy, in a twisted-homicidal way? After waking, or compositing (is that a word?), he realizes what an evil organization this is and "puts down" the actives that are too far gone to be saved and murders the ones he feels are responsible. The people in the house were actually an active and a client. He doesn't kill Echo because he thinks she can actually be saved, which is why he organized the hunt to wake her up a little.

I know, wild theory, but fun to speculate on.
I know, wild theory, but fun to speculate on.

Not too wild, I think. I'm guessing that Alpha at the very least thinks of himself as the "good guy"--avenging angel, at least. There's something about that scene of the guy sitting naked, calmly watching the video that doesn't suggest "normal," though. And we know that Alpha set up the scenario in Ep 2, which involved killing a harmless ranger and Boyd's driver (pretty unlikely that that guy was somehow central to Dollhouse's activities)--and at the very least involved a reckless disregard for Echo's life.

I think Alpha kinda has to be a nutjob, but no doubt one with an interesting version of his own story.
It's fairly disappointing to me to find out that they're waiting clear until the end of the season for the big reveal of Alpha. Especially considering that realistically, there's probably more of a chance than not that the show will already be cancelled by then.
Especially considering that realistically, there's probably more of a chance than not that the show will already be cancelled by then.

You think maybe they should have planned to finish all the season plot lines by episode six?
Oh, that wouldn't get them cancelled at all. :P

Anyway, there's always DVD.
Although I've been avoiding spoilers generally, I did go ahead and look at the Alpha-casting thread. I don't consider casting to be so much of a spoiler, especially if the actor is a name I might recognize.

Too big a recognition factor could take me out of the moment when the reveal finally happens. And that's what I really don't want to happen.
As snot points out, Fox asked that the first five or so episodes be stand-alone, so I was surprised that the Alpha plot line was pushed as much as it was in ep 2.

Anyways, I think people are getting off topic... about the parallels between Dollhouse and the muppets. I tried to think about the recasting, and could use help. This is off of the top of my head.

Echo: Elmo
Boyd:Kermit
Topher: Count/Fozzie Bear
Ballard: Big Bird/Cookie Monster
Victor: Grover/Gonzo
DeWitt: Miss Piggy/Merryl Sheep
Dominick: Bert/Animal
Saunders: Beaker
Alpha: Snuffleupagus
Critics who don't like Dollhouse: Statler & Waldorf :-)
Since this is about to drop off the front page - Joss, you naughty boy...
This is a surprise?

Joss takes pleasure (again, not naughty). I refute this, you so are too!

What happened when the lights went out. Sadly, this is not a naughty post. Oh come on, I know "sadly" I was not born yesterday!

:=)
OneTeV, I like your list. But could you edit one of those Dollhouse character names to not spoil something?

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